For many years after struggling, I finally took the initiative to invest in me and be a good (financial) role model for my family. After a divorce and life just being life, I was the only source of income and I quickly realized I needed a game plan – it was time for a budget! I aligned myself with someone who had it together financially and could help create a budget. Not just any budget though – a REALTISTIC one! What happens next is learning some tough lessons and sticking to that budget.
Here is how most financial experts say your budget should be broken down:
The #1 rule is PAY YOURSELF FIRST! What that means is maintain a 3-month emergency cash fund (it’s called ‘emergency’ for a reason!) and put away for your retirement now. We can’t all count on that wealthy relative to leave you millions. If your job allows you to put away in a retirement program or pension, do it because it is never too early to plan for tomorrow.
Also, be creative with that income tax refund and put it to good use. There is healthy logic that if you don’t see it, you won’t realize it was gone. Pay down debt, including the highest interest yielding credit card down first – less interest means you save money.
If you need help getting started, here is an easy budget worksheet:
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